The reach of human existence is expanding. And where humans go, business and industry follow. As of November 2022, there are 8261 individual satellites in orbit, as well as the international space station. Beyond those satellites, remnants of human life, such as cremation ashes, memorials, and a family photo, lay on the surface of the moon. Even further than that, on the once-unfathomable surface of Mars, are three human-made rovers. Private citizens can now explore space. It’s only a matter of time before humankind grows tired of playing with earth and moves on to the next planet.
Though NASA has a high success rate, space exploration still comes at a great financial cost, and with a very high risk to the taxpayers funding it. Richard Parker, co-founder of Assure Space said in an article for Risk & Insurance magazine that in a bid to decrease launch risk and costs, it may soon be possible to assemble commercial satellites in space. Reading this sparked questions about how insurance and bonding will look like in the revival of the space race. Will this lead to a manufacturing facility on the International Space Station? If satellite construction contracts are bonded when built on earth, they will need to be bonded when built in space as well, right? Will international bonding reach a new level of complexity to build satellites, rovers, or even ships? INTERGALACTIC SURETY? Will underwriters and brokers have to jump on a spacecraft once a year to visit inter-planet clients? Janitorial bonds for cleaning up space junk?
As technology advances, the concept of colonizing the sky, the moon, or Mars is becoming less like science fiction. Within a few decades, sureties may have to consider writing a bond for construction on the moon. Hopefully, by then, digital indemnity agreements are all the rage.